Africa for a Day


The first week of August 2016 I spent with Simeon from Munich at our friend Jose’s place in Tarifa, Spain. The three of us have met in New Zealand when we were doing internships there in 2014.

Tarifa is a small municipality located in the very south of the Iberian Peninsula, just a stone’s throw away from Gibraltar. You will get a better impression of the genereal area in this VIDEO from my previous POST. However, on one day we decided to cross the Bay of Gibraltar and take the FRS speed ferry to Tanger (or Tangier) in Morocco. The ride cost us 67€ pP for both ways and took ~35min each direction.

Place du 9 Avril 1947 & the Mosquée Sidi Bou Arrakia
Place du 9 Avril 1947 & the Mosquée Sidi Bou Arrakia

Not long after filling in your visas & leaving the boat you will feel the difference in the culture. Walking from the harbor to the center of town takes you about 15 minutes – at least this is what it took us in 25°C at 10am, uphill. We then changed 15€, which would turn out to be more than enough money for the whole day, including meals, drinks & souvenirs. After going to a really central café close to the “Place du 9 Avril 1947” & the “Mosquée Sidi Bou Arrakia” (Mosk).

After some bread with delicious honey & a glas of hot tea (both Moroccan specialities) we made our way to the local Fish-, Meat-, Herb- and Vegetable- market. The Hall was extremely crowded and fresh food was offered as far as the eye could see.

Vegetable Stalls
Vegetable Stalls

Looking at some of the corners of the market one would see an elderly woman or man sitting, trying to sell their herbs but barely being able to keep their eyes open. Farmers as seen in the picture below sometimes walk for more than 2 hours from their homes to the market just to make a dime.

Farmer Lady
Farmer Lady

Then we continued to make our way through the streets that remind you of Tales from 1001 nights, Aladin and other orient-movies. Unfortunately, we quickly got to know the downsides of being a tourist in Morocco. Know this: Sketchy people will try to involve you in all kinds of conversations with a similar end result – they will kindly suggest a must-see touristic attraction and will offer to take you there. Despite them being extremely friendly, I would not recommend following anyone you do not know through the intertwined alleyways. This does not mean one should not talk to anybody or feel unsafe. In most cases these people will actually show you something nice e.g. a great restaurant and then just ask for a little pocket money. However, it is better to be safe than sorry…

Stray cat realxing
Stray cat realxing

Other than that, Tanger is home to countless stray cats. Language-wise English should suffice. If you can speak Spanish or French that is even better, as most Moroccans in Tanger speak at least one of these languages – especially if they make earn their living with the tourists.

So, after walking through the small alleys, past plenty stands with spices, sweets, souvenirs and food we made our way to the city park – which also seemed to be a cemetery – and took a little rest next to the aforementioned Mosquée Sidi Bou Arrakia:

Mosquée Sidi Bou Arrakia
Mosquée Sidi Bou Arrakia

Not being able to find a tourist info we were lucky to run into a couple of Welsh tourists who happened to have a map and a tip. They mentioned that they have been told to go and see the historic old town or “Ancien Medina”. Not knowing much about the place we followed this hint and climbed the ~300m hill as the temperature steadily rose above 40°C.

Yeah, you can imagine…

Salon Bleu
Salon Bleu

Still it was worth it. One of our favorite spots was the Salon Bleu where you can get a great view over the old-town as well as the entire city of Tanger.

It is definitely worth to pay a visit & climb their ridiculously small round stairs to the terrace. Their food and service however are not that good, so you might consider a nicer (+ cheaper) place to have a lunch break. We had a menu of 4 typical Moroccan courses & a soft drink for ~13€ in town.

Rooftop view of Salon Bleu
Rooftop view of Salon Bleu

 The old town is surrounded by ancient city walls and its alleyways are extremely colorful. A lot of locals still reside in this part of town which is otherwise peppered with small cafés and kiosks. There is also a nice museum named “Musée de la Kasbah”.

Residential area in the oldtown
Residential area in the oldtowndav

We rounded the day off with some souvenir hunting and went back onto the ferry. Totally worth it!

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Tarifa, Spain

The video below is a quick-time recap of an amazing week in Tarifa. The small municipality in the south of Spain increases its population by a factor of 5-6 every summer. Most locals make their living based of tourists and kite surfers. Tarifa is known for its beautiful beaches, stable great weather and strong winds.

Video:

https://www.facebook.com/theglobeonabudget/videos/610397409128750/

When Lars was there in the beginning of August most of his days were shaped by the tranquil Spanish lifestyle. The day rarely started before 11am, continued with a late breakfast, followed by a late lunch and a beach visit or a nice siesta. The long, white beaches are flooded with tourists – mainly from Italy & Spain – in the summertime. Due to this accommodation prices are outrageous between June & September. Our budget traveler had the luck to stay with a friend, whom could easily rent out his flat for more than 1,000€ per week. The cost of living on the other hand is decent. Fresh food & cold drinks will not cost you more than 10-15€ per day. Below Lars made a list of Top 10 things to do in Tarifa, if you find a place to stay.

No 1:

Buy fresh Oranges (~65cts p. kg) and have fresh orange juice everyday! Also shop locally at supermarkets and prepare your own Tapas or other local dishes, like Paella, to save money.

No 2:

Have the best Mojito ever at the “Bar Taco Way”! During Happy Hours their own delicious version of combining of fresh mint, brown sugar, lime, slushed ice & white rum will cost you 3€. If you give those guys a tip, the whole crew has a really funny way to express their happiness.

Best Mojito Ever
Best Mojito Ever

No 3:

Go Kite surfing! If you have the time & money you can learn how to do it in one of the plenty Kite surfing schools in Tarifa. If you do not, just relax at the beach, grab a cold one and watch the others. It can be really fascinating.

No 4:

Share a perfectly spiced chicken at “El Palmar”, a restaurant not far from the beach in the town with the same name (one hour north of Tarifa).

Pollo Asado in El Palmar
Pollo Asado in El Palmar

The top selling whole Chicken “Pollo Asado” will cost you 11€ and will leave a great impression. However, I recommend that you reserve a table (and a dish) before hanging out at the beach, as the place is packed during lunch & dinner hours. Also do not sleep on their homemade deserts.

No 5:

Carpe Noctem – go out at night. Tarifa is a party town, so go roam the little alleyways of the town, together with thousands of other toursits & locals and enjoy Tarifa’s one of a kind nightlife.

Tarifa at night
Tarifa at night

A nice club to start with is “La Teteria de Tarifa”. It is a cozy bar with outdoor gardens to relax in and enjoy a cold drink or a waterpipe. Between 2am-3am a lot of locals prefer to go to “La Ruina” & dance to some electronical music. Afterwards locals recommend to go to “Cafe del Mar”, a club on the edge of town that opens its doors until 8am.

No 6:

Find a person with a boat and enjoy a day in the Bay of Gibraltar. The turquoise water is very clean & clear and has a perfect swimming and diving temperature.

No 7:

Lavante
Lavante

Lay at the beach at night and enjoy the beautiful stars. Due to the strong winds in southern Spain (“Lavante”) clouds are generally passing quickly and you will have lots of crystal clear night skies. Maybe you want to add a round of skinny-dipping as well ;).

No 8:

Take the ferry to Tangier, Morocco. The ferry ride will take 35 minutes and costs 65€ in total for both ways. You can have a little peek into the culture of the North African country. For a better understanding of the life in Morocco you can consider reading my next blog entry and spending several days there and driving further inland.

No 9:

Talk to the locals. The best way to understand the Andalusian mentality is talking to the locals and doing what they do. Not many of them are fluent in English though, so you might want to freshen up your Spanish skills.

No 10:

Andalusian Sunset
Andalusian Sunset

Watch a sunset at Waikiki Beach Club! This is the top of the crop. We went there every night to see the sun go down around 21:30 and leave us with a burning sky. People generally applaud the sun every night, as can be seen in this Facebook live video I have taken. I can also recommend enjoying the delicious Waikiki cocktail while watching the dusk. It is similar to a Pina Colada and specializes in turning 6€ from your pocket into a taste explosion in your mouth and a feeling of shear happiness in your tummy.

Total budget spent by Lars (incl. Flights):

313€ in 8 days.

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